Jul 23 2010

Kiawah Town Council – July 6, 2010

AT&T ordinance passes second reading

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Kiawah Town Council unanimously approved the second reading of ordinance 2010-04, granting AT&T consent to apply for a franchise for cable or video service. The franchise fee for the service, as proposed by the Ways and Means committee, was proposed to be set at 3% of gross revenue. The Council later unanimously approved the 3% franchise fee assessment for AT&T.

Martha Harris to retire from Berkeley Electric Co-operative

“This is sort of a happy and a sad thing for us,” said Mayor Wert as he read a proclamation declaring September 15, 2010, as Martha Harris Day. Martha Harris, Vice President of Government and Consumer Affairs for Berkeley Electric Cooperative, will be retiring on Friday, October 1, and will be replaced by Mark Gaddy from the Goose Creek office. “Thank you so much,” said Harris as she accepted a framed copy of the proclamation. “I have big shoes to fill,” smiled Gaddy.

Four-legged freedom during off-season

After many discussions and revisions, Kiawah Council gave first reading to the new Control of Pets ordinance 2010-05. “There’s been a lot of work done on this, back and forth,” said Mayor Wert, stating that the current ordinance is basically being changed to allow dogs off-leash on the beach in “Dog Use Areas” from November 1 – March 15 each year during daylight hours. The Dog Use Areas basically extend from Beachwalker Park to the Beach Club, and dogs are not allowed in critical habitat areas at any time. While off-leash in the designated area, dogs should be under voice control and owners should have a leash available if another beach visitor requests that the dog(s) be leashed. Copies of the Dog Use Areas are available at Town Hall, and online at www.kiawahisland.org.

“I want everyone to give this map to their dog,” smiled Councilman Steve Orban. On a serious note, Mayor Wert urged dog owners to inform anyone they see violating the new ordinance on the beach of the new leash laws.

Updating the Hazard Mitigation Plan

Town Administrator Tumiko Rucker read the resolution to approve this year’s update to Kiawah’s section of the Charleston Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. The annual update of the plan is critical to maintaining the town’s current Community Rating System, which allows the town to receive discounted flood insurance. For the complete Charleston Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan, visit www.charlestoncounty.org.

Saturday backyard recycling service

Councilman Harry McHugh read a proposal recently approved by the Ways and Means committee to establish a Saturday backdoor recycling service for rental homes at $15 per month/$180 per year cost. Rental homes are currently required to provide Saturday backdoor garbage collection, but on request by the rental community, McHugh met with Suburban representatives and determined the feasibility/cost of the new service. McHugh pointed out that the service would also be available to non-renters. Council approved the recycling service and associated fee unanimously, and the bill for this new service will be included with the July 2010 annual solid waste billing for those with applicable accounts. The cost includes a 35-gallon recycling container.

CARTA budget

In order to comply with state law, Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authorities, or CARTA, is required to submit its budget for approval to each jurisdiction which CARTA services. Howard Chapman, the Executive Director for CARTA, was in attendance to answer any questions, but Mayor Wert pointed out that the budget seemed fairly clear. “It’s a big job and a big budget,” said the Mayor. The Council approved CARTA’s budget unanimously.

Town auditor contract extended

WebsterRogers LLP, the auditing firm for the Town of Kiawah Island, has asked to extend their relationship with the town for an additional three years with a 3% increase based on the consumer price index, which the Council may review on an annual basis. The extension was recommended by the Ways and Means committee, and Councilman Orban stated that, “They’ve done a good job for us for past couple of years,” and Town Treasurer Kenneth Gunnells noted in his report that they have performed their functions in a professional manner. Council approved the extension unanimously.

Striping Beachwalker Drive

Town Administrator Rucker and the town staff have been looking into the issue of re-striping the section of the Kiawah Island Parkway where the recent parkway project ended at Freshfields, as well as along Beachwalker Drive where the current striping has faded significantly. Council requested during the last meeting that they look into including rumble striping on the outer edges of the roads, and after putting out requests for proposals, the town received proposals from companies Tars and Stripes and Peek Pavement. While the town staff is still in the process of determining which company to use, Rucker asked the Council for an expenditure approval not to exceed $14,000 based on current estimates. The Council approved the expenditure unanimously.

Looking into changing the town voting location

The Council briefly discussed how difficult it would be to change the current voting location on Kiawah from the fire station to Town Hall. While the fire station tends to be subject to temperature fluctuations, the issue with using Town Hall mainly revolves around the lack of parking spaces. Councilman Al Burnaford noted that the Town averages around 900 voters per election, and Councilman Charlie Lipuma remarked that poll workers are pushing hard to relocate from the inclement fire station. Counciman McHugh suggested that the election commission come up with a plan on how they would use the Town Hall and Town Hall parking if the voting location was moved, and Mayor Wert agreed, stating that he would ask the election commission chair for a layout on how they would use the facility and ask them to bring it to the next meeting.

Arts Council

Councilman Lipuma stated that the Arts Council season closed with the June 30 Zydeco performance at Night Heron Park, and will resume again in September. “The Zydeco was a big hit,” said Lipuma. “We had about 500 people and it worked out quite well.” He noted that the Arts Council annual report should be available for the next Council meeting.

Environmental Committee

“Garbage, garbage, garbage!” smiled Councilman McHugh as he reported on the progress of the recycling committee, noting that the island is now pretty much covered; from single family homes to HOAs and cottages. “One area where we can still improve is the regimes and condominiums,” he said. A trial using limited locations for recycling in one of the villas failed miserably due to contamination, so the committee is looking into revising the plan to have multiple recycling options at each location. “If we’re successful, then we can make recycling 100% available to regimes and then we’ll have the island covered.” Mayor Wert asked about the potential for getting more recycling containers with wheels and Rucker reported that they have contacted a company who can provide the containers and that they would be available soon.

Waiting on the LPA road study

Councilman Burnaford reported that the LPA Group, the company looking in to the potential widening of Johns Island’s major roads and the feasibility of the Johns Island Greenway, should be giving their first report either in late July or August. He also noted that the Charleston County Planning Department will be trimming trees along Bohicket and River Roads within the next six months, and that six trees total along the various major roads are scheduled to be removed due to their unsafe condition. Councilman Lipuma asked if the LPA study would be available for review online, and Burnaford replied that it would be once it was approved.

Town Administrator’s report

Tumiko Rucker thanked everyone for their participation in this year’s Disaster Awareness Day, which she reported was a huge success, with the biggest attendance in the past five years. She also reported on a recent County emergency drill at the County Emergency Management Center which she attended, noting that it was good to see the County’s plan in action. In order to prepare the Town, the town staff is continuing to update and improve internal plans, and will be doing some renovations to Town Hall, the Town’s Emergency Operations Center, to include more phone and computer lines so that they can be used when needed.

On another note, Rucker stated that some pending legislation discussed during the recent county managers meeting would modify the existing business license statute. In draft form, the legislation could have a detrimental effect on the amount of revenue coming in to the town.

Lastly, Rucker pointed out that there is a survey in the most recent Town Notes and online which she asked every citizen to take the time to fill out. It consists of five questions and will help the Town Notes improve as an effective communication tool. The survey is also available online at www.kiawahisland.org.

Happy kids, clean water and a potential development agreement with KIGR

Mayor Wert was happy to report that the town received a thank you letter from Mount Zion for their contribution of $750 toward the school’s awards celebration on June 2. “It was money well spent,” Wert smiled.

The mayor also noted that the town’s drinking water quality report came in with very positive results. In terms of the upcoming municipal elections, Wert announced that all five two-year-term Council positions will be open as of September 8 at 9 a.m., and stated that he would be filing again for mayor at exactly 9:01 a.m. Filling costs are $25 for council members and $50 for mayor, and the filing period closes on October 8. Elections will be held on the first Tuesday in December. For more information or filing forms, drop by Town Hall. Later, during Council comments, Councilman Orban announced that he would not be running again for Council. “I have served for eight years, which is sufficient,” said Orban. “I encourage others to sign up and run. Become a part of town government.”

Lastly, Mayor Wert stated that the Town has come to a tentative development agreement with the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. “The Planning commission will look into it and make sure it complies with the comprehensive plan, then we will hold two public hearings on the development agreement which by law have to be held 30 days apart,” said the Mayor, “one before the first reading and one before the second. I won’t discuss details until we have the full document and everyone has agreed on it.” Mayor Wert wrapped up his report by stating that they would hopefully have the agreement by next month.

Citizen’s Comments:

Wendy Kulick congratulated the town on the great step forward with the development agreement, and stated that she would be remiss if she didn’t mention how appreciative the kids at Mount Zion were for the town’s contribution. She recently accompanied the fifth grade class on a trip to Washington D.C. and was thrilled with their behavior and the places they were able to visit (for the full story, see page ??__??) Lastly, she asked that the town look into ways of keeping the new Kiawah Parkway free from litter, and suggested that laminated copies of the new Dog Use Areas on the beach be provided near boardwalks and/or on the doggie bag stands.

Elizabeth King of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort thanked the town for supporting their Fourth of July activities this past weekend, and reported a record attendance with two fireworks finales. “It was a wonderful success; thank you, all,” she smiled.

Fran Wermuth also thanked the town for looking into and potentially revising the current dog leash ordinance. “We were all told that if we got involved, then we could make a difference, and we did,” said Wermuth. “ We look forward to the vote in August and the passage of the dog ordinance.”

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